Gareth Southgate

I remember nineteen ninety six
like it was yesterday – the penalty
the way that Gareth kicked the ball and missed
I bet he never thought that day that he
would ever be back in the game again
his name engraved in Lions’ hearts, their
lips aflame with songs of praise, and men
in waistcoat shops, and women swooning where
he might have been. You’ve got to love a man
who wears his pride so modestly, who’s cute
who wears a new suit stylishly, who can
(if dream we dare) bring home the Cup to boot
If on that fateful day he’d walked away
we wouldn’t be here, would we. Let us play.

© Gail Foster 11th July 2018

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Years of Hurt

Whilst the majority of domestic violence perpetrators are men I am fully aware that men are sometimes victims as well, therefore this poem is written in such a way that ‘he’ and ‘his’ can be substituted with ‘she’ and ‘her’, and ‘girls’ with ‘boys.’  

When it comes to domestic violence, no-one is a winner…

Oh God, did England win? That means that he
is coming home. I’ve done the washing up
and cooked him steak and crinkle chips for tea
and put his tinnies and his football cup
beside his chair and switched the telly on
All done. I wait. It could go either way
Of late it’s gone a little bit like this
He comes in in a ‘you’re alright mate’ way
insisting on a bear hug and a kiss
and then the beer kicks in – his tea is cold
his boss is mean to him, his car is shit
and I’m the Germans, oh and I am old
I told the girls at work he didn’t hit
me, lied about the bruise beneath my shirt
Don’t talk to me of Lions. Years of hurt.

© Gail Foster 7th July 2018

The Song of the Wren

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*

The wren is singing, high up in the tree

Come, lay your crown beside me on the ground

Come lie with me, my love, come lie with me

For every bloom on earth there is a bee

For every queen a green king to be crowned

The wren is singing high up in the tree

I wore a gown of bright embroidery

I wear my hair with heather flowers wound

Come lie with me, my love, come lie with me

I’m wanton, wild, alive with energy

I want you brought to me in oak leaves bound

The wren is singing high up in the tree

Oh aye, what then, why then I set you free

Oh my, and we get dirty and profound

Come lie with me, my love, come lie with me

You are my king.  I shut my eyes and see

Your silhouette, with sunlight all around

I hear the wren sing, high up in the tree

Come lie with me, my love, come lie with me

*

© Gail Foster 21st June 2018

The Blossom On The Bough

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Two sonnets for May, and my muse

*

The fires are lit, my lover, and the hills

are flickering with little points of light

The sun is set, and deep within the rills

the seeds of stars are littering the night

The smoke is rising, lover, rising high

in winding spires of ribbons in the air

and in the rivers where the willows cry

and on the leys the ancient druids dare

to walk, the chalk is glowing.  I know you

will never leap the Beltane fires with me

or rise on one May morning in the dew

beside me, spellbound by my poetry

Or so it seems.  But oh, my lover, how

the blossom burns, so brightly on the bough

The maypole’s up, my lover, on the green

its willow ribbons flutter in the breeze

I would you be my king, and I your queen

for one night only, here beneath the trees

The hawthorn froths, my lover, in the hedge

the buds are bursting, birds are nesting high

yet still you fly, my hawk, above the edge

of some cold mountain way up in the sky

Come down, or are you wary that a flame

might fall within your feathers, or a spark

ignite your heart, or god forbid, you came

to want to stay beside me in the dark

It’s so, it seems.  But see, my lover, now

the blossom burning, brighter on the bough

*

© Gail Foster 1st May 2018